You probably know the feeling: there are a couple weeks left in the semester, and your grade is riiight on the cusp of an A. It’s your chance to hit a buzzer beater – your academic fate (or at least your GPA) hangs in the balance. Luckily, there is more you can proactively do than simply crossing your fingers and hoping for the best. If you’re stressing about a cusp grade, take things into your own hands with these steps.
First, talk to your teacher one-on-one.
Educators want to see their students succeed, and they also want to see their students want to succeed. Not only can your teacher potentially point you in the direction of extra credit or offer advice for doing better on upcoming assignments and tests, they’ll also see firsthand that you want to do better.
Remember: it never hurts to ask, whether that be for extra credit or simply a little advice. In the best-case scenario, you leave the discussion with a solid game plan for raising your grade, like doing an extra assignment or scheduling a private tutorial. In the worst-case scenario, you don’t get any new, helpful information but you’ve made a good impression on your teacher, A.K.A. the person assigning grades. What do you have to lose?
Do any and all available extra credit.
Sometimes, there are extra credit opportunities listed on your syllabus. Other times, you’ll need to ask your teacher directly if there are any. If there are any chances to score a few extra points, TAKE THEM! Whether that means spending your weekend writing an optional essay or attending an event relevant to the course, do it. Chances for extra credit are generally few and far between, so take advantage whenever you get them.
Find the extra help you need.
Maybe you’ve got to raise your borderline grade the old-fashioned way: buckling down and acing your upcoming assignments, quizzes, and tests. If that’s the case, it’s important to be honest with yourself about why your grade is borderline in the first place. Did you slack earlier in the semester? Did you put in half effort on your homework? Did you skip the reading? If so, maybe the solution is simply reprioritizing this class and putting in the extra time needed to catch up.
If you’re having real trouble understanding the content, however, that’s another story. See if you can get some extra help from the teacher, a classmate, a study group, or an outside tutor, and work on tackling the topics that are giving you the most issue.
Make the final exam your priority.
Your final exam or paper will undoubtedly count for more of your final grade, so keep your eyes focused on that. Start studying now (seriously, right now!) and make sure you know exactly what to expect. Make a study guide, form a study group, re-read your class notes and textbook chapters, study old tests and quizzes – do it all. Finals should always be taken seriously, but especially when your grade could go either way. In other words… do not procrastinate until the night before to start studying!
There is one important thing to note when it comes to raising a borderline grade: you are not owed a grade you didn’t earn, and you need to keep that in your mind whenever you’re speaking with a teacher. Many teachers have reported students begging (or even demanding) a slight grade bump, despite knowing academic expectations at the beginning of the semester. Buckle down and study, submit extra credit assignments, do everything you can to raise that grade, but remember that at the end of the day, grades are earned and not randomly given.